Articles by " Adam"
21 Nov
2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Needless to say, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Because duh. I don't know if you guys know this about me, but my family is pretty serious about food. Like, we have 14 people over (this year. Sometimes more.) and we have about a dish per person. Not to mention desserts. Six different options. Because why not? Pecan pie, Cranberry-apple pie, Chocolate Cheesecake, Pumpkin pie (duh), Apple Crisp, and Cheesecake Brownies.

For real, though. It's hard to beat turkey and wine. Also turnips.

It's hard to get serious about Thanksgiving without sounding like a total sap, so with regard to the genuine, emotional aspect of the holiday, I'll just say that it's important to appreciate all one has in life on this and every day.  I think the really important part of Thanksgiving for most people is tradition. More than any other day, the events of Thanksgiving almost always have a preordained quality. We go to a certain place, we see specific people, usually the same people every year, we eat special foods. Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter what happens over the course of the year, there's a home base; a place to go and remember the simple joys of life. Good food, loving company, and a sense of home.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Hope it's a great one.

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17 Nov
2012

Homemade Bread Day!

Today is Homemade Bread Day. Otherwise known as revel in yeast day. In essence, the best holiday in the world, because homemade yeast breads are literally the tastiest thing you'll ever consume.

Everyone in my family bakes. My dad worked as a baker part-time when I was born. Store-bought pies are a curse word in my house. Cake mix is anathema. Cookie dough in a tube is like something out of a bad dream. And we. Love. Bread. A lot. So much.

Homemade Bread Day is just in time to practice for Hanukkah. Challah!

I could literally talk for pages about how homemade bread makes me happy and is the best thing in the world and how many bread recipes I love and bake all the time. I won't, though. Because I don't think you'd profit by it. Also because I don't want to. I'll just leave you with one thought about bread. Bread is one of the oldest cooked foods known to man. There's evidence of people baking bread over 30,000 years ago. Just saying, bread's doing something right. Bake some bread. For real.

This might be helpful.

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15 Nov
2012

I Love to Write Day

There are a lot of ways to love something.  Conceptually, platonically, physically, romantically, ideally, et cetera.  All of them apply to my relationship with writing.  In the main, I love the physical act of writing.  There are not many things more pleasurable than the feel of a good fountain pen on fine paper.  And I know what you dirty-minded folks are thinking right now and yes, that is better, but nevertheless, the physical pleasures of writing are not to be ignored.

I also love writing in a conceptual sense.  I love the idea of putting one's thoughts on a page.  Baring one's soul, to be melodramatic, and having someone else read it and be satisfied in some deep psychological way.  I imagine most of you read my blog posts and are emotionally fortified.  The romantic love of writing is very much tied to that feeling.  There's something very old fashioned (in the good way) about sharing the written word.

The very fact that "I love to write day" exists is evidence of the stranglehold the written word has on our collective psyche.  As much as technology advances, as much as we marginalize the importance of written correspondence and even books, there's still some ineffable draw to the feel of heavy paper, the widely touted smell of an old book, the reverence we feel toward classic literature.

Obviously, a card store like ours is a place where love of writing, in all forms and senses, is encouraged.  Sending or giving a handwritten card is not yet obsolete and we revel in that. If you don't think about it often, consider today how much writing means to you.  You might be surprised by what occurs to you.

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9 Nov
2012

Another Awesome Person’s birthday!

So. Obviously we're hugely into good books at KU. One of our favorite authors is Neil Gaiman. Because he's amazing. Among contemporary sci-fi/fantasy writers, he has no equal. Gaiman was able to read at the age of 4 and his childhood favorites include Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Needless to say, Gaiman's literary pedigree leaves little to be desired.

Gaiman's own works generally rely on a charming conversational style of narration; his books almost read themselves to you. My personal favorite is Stardust, and American Gods, and Anansi Boys, and Coraline (you get the idea), but all of his books (that I've read) are excellent. I would definitely recommend picking one (all) of them up next time you come to the store.

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16 Oct
2012

KU Celebrates Boss’s Day!

So you know how we're always talking about fake holidays and how we love them at KU? Boss's Day isn't one of those. Boss's Day is completely, 100% real. It was started in 1958 by Patricia Haroski of Illinois. Her boss was her dad. Apparently Father's Day wasn't enough. But that kind of explains why Boss's Day is to Secretary's Day as Father's Day is to Mother's Day. (Did you like that SAT-style analogy? Yeah, I thought it was pretty sweet.)

I have a lot of bosses here at KU. Like a lot. I'm pretty new, so mostly everyone is the boss of me from time to time. If I worked somewhere different, I would probably hate that. I don't know if you guys have gleaned this about me from my blog entries, but I'm a bit of a know-it-all. In a different work environment, I would very likely not be excited about Boss's day even a little bit. Fortunately, my bosses are excellent humans of whom I'm very fond. So I'm going to take the opportunity of this very very real and not pretend at all holiday to say that I appreciate my bosses. If this weren't a card store, I'd probably even get them a card. Since it is a card store, though, I feel like that would be redundant. And/or superfluous. And/or obsequious. I'm trying to think of another good word to add here. I got nothing.

Come get your boss a card. For real. A good boss is not something to take for granted.

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12 Oct
2012

The Greatest of All Time

Hey blogfans! I'm back and better than ever! (And by that I mean that I'm still totally awesome. Duh.)

Today we're going to talk about the best comic writer of all time, bar none. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. In all honesty, I think that name speaks for itself. Have you ever heard a funnier one? I didn't think so.

P.G. Wodehouse is best known for his Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels, and wrote and contributed to many other works including journalism, plays, musicals, and short stories. Wikipedia states (and I wouldn't quote it if I could put it any better, but I can't), "His writing style is notable for its unique blend of contemporary London clubroom slang with elegant, classically-informed drawing-room English." Short version, it's hysterical. Wodehouse has this perfect way of making even the most ridiculous vernacular sound normal and even the most formal language sound natural. Seriously, read it if you haven't. You won't regret it. I promise.

And for real, Pelham. Grenville. Wodehouse. Really, though.

Read our beginner's guide to P.G. Wodehouse's books here.

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26 Sep
2012

Another Awesome September Birthday!

So I know you guys are probably getting tired of reading my blogs entries (lol, as if.), but I'm totally blogging at you again, this time about one of my favorite poets, T.S. Eliot. In the interest of full disclosure and to be more exact, Eliot is actually my fourth favorite poet (after Coleridge, Byron, and Tennyson), but that's still top five and he's incredible.

Almost everyone has at least heard of The Waste Land, even if they haven't read it, and that's because in a lot of ways, it's a poem that defined its generation in addition to being a poem which defined its artistic movement. As far as Modern poetry goes, it's hard to compete with Eliot's work. I don't need to and won't go into full on literary criticism mode, but The Waste Land's illustration of the angst, disillusionment, and desolation remains a powerful and salient image 90 years after the fact.

That's good writing. Something to aspire to.

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22 Sep
2012

Happy Hobbit Day!

So. Tolkien Week culminates today in a celebration of Hobbit Day, since September 22nd is Bilbo and Frodo Baggins's shared birthday. Hobbit Day is unsurprisingly awesome, since Hobbits freakin' rule. You'd think, considering my nerdiness (which can conservatively be described as intense), that I would have been actively engaging in Hobbitry since a young age, but I've really only recently begun to embrace my inner halfling.

And by 'inner' I kind of also mean outer. Like a hobbit, I enjoy food, music, leisure, peace and quiet, food, occasional adventures, food...you get the idea. I even have hairy feet. Though not hobbit-hairy. That'd be kind of weird.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that though Tolkien Week as a whole has been epic and though all of Tolkien's works are worthy of celebration (Seriously, read The Unfinished Tales if you haven't. They're fascinating. Also if you feel like being totally incredibly nerdy (which, why wouldn't you?) read The Silmarillion. Look, I know. But it's awesome. The history of Middle Earth is what makes Tolkien and LotR so impressive.), The Hobbit and hobbits have a special place in our hearts.

Hobbits are easily the most relatable characters in LotR.  In a universe where even the Men are pretty much superheroes, it's nice to have some characters whom readers can see as normal.  In a lot of ways, I think hobbits are what make Tolkien's works the literary giants that they are.  In the same way, the lack of hobbits is what makes so much other fantasy seem hackneyed and trite.  Without the very human and even mundane element the hobbit characters provide, the might of Gandalf would seem run of the mill.  The strength, resilience, and stature of Aragorn would be diminished.  Every non-hobbit character would suddenly be less fantastic.  That's why hobbits rock.  From a literary standpoint, anyway.

From a non-literary standpoint, hobbits rock because they eat 6 meals a day and pretty much just garden and hang out in between meal times.  Who wouldn't want that life?

I know I do.

Check out this year's Tolkien Week Quiz after the jump!

Read more >>

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